The Experiences of Medical Marijuana Patients: A Scoping Review of the Qualitative Literature

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Abstract

Medical marijuana is now legal in more than half of the United States but remains federally prohibited and classified as a schedule 1 drug. The chemical compounds in marijuana are known neuroprotectants; however, their clinical efficacy and safety have not been proven. Many healthcare providers remain unaware of the therapeutic potential of marijuana and its adverse effects. The conflicting laws and lack of guidance from healthcare professionals can lead to confusion and frustration for patients seeking this medication. Multiple factors contribute to the unique and varied experiences of medical marijuana patients. Because more individuals with neurological disorders seek therapeutic marijuana, it is important for healthcare professionals to understand their distinctive experiences. Qualitative research methodology is ideal to capture the thick descriptions of these experiences. This review examines the qualitative research exploring the experiences of medical marijuana patients and discusses common themes across all studies.

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